Ernest Snowden is the son of Macon Snowden and nephew of Ernest Snowden. The author is a 1970 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former naval aviator. After active duty, he continued in the Naval Reserve as an aeronautical engineering duty officer until his retirement in 2000. As a Navy civilian, he served as the business manager for the Maintenance Policy Division of the Naval Air Systems Command, followed by a tour as staff assistant to the Deputy Director for Research and Engineering in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.